A Personal Story: “Editor's Note: A Personal Journey, and Putting Toward the End”

From the time I began dental school in my native country, Chile, I realized that I had been introduced to a vast field that provided many opportunities to fulfill my expectations. These, however, were not easy to attain, as I learned that the major accomplishments of life require effort and tenacity. During this period of my life, I discovered not only the fascinating field of dentistry, but also learned how to solve problems, how to apply good judgment, and how to set a goal and achieve it. I graduated from dental school cum laude, worked as a general dentist for five years, and then completed an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency.

In 2000, after working for five years as an oral surgeon in Chile, my family and I had the opportunity to come to the United States. I then received advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery in Florida, which I finished in 2003. I attained licensure in Texas in 2004 and started providing dental care for the underserved of El Paso.

The combination of clinical care and teaching in El Paso, to senior dental students from Baylor College of Dentistry during their externship program, motivated me to seek additional training in Oral Medicine. In 2011, I enrolled in the Oral Medicine Residency Program at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), School of Dental Medicine. This program opened a new world for me because it empowered me to be more confident in treating patients with oral mucosal diseases as well as orofacial pain and to manage medically complex patients. I enhanced my skills in oral pathology and oral radiology and acquired basic skills in research. As an oral medicine resident, the abstract of my basic science research project won the 2013 Lester Burket Research Award. Additionally, I received the case presentation prize at the AAOM Meeting the same year. To further strengthen my professional career, I enrolled in the Oral Biology MS Program at Penn. During that period, I met faculty and peers who inspired me to continue in this fascinating field as well as to collaborate for its continuous development.

Currently, I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Diagnostic Sciences and Oral Medicine, at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Dentistry, where I have responsibilities in teaching and clinical activities as well as research.

When I decided to take the oral medicine boards this year, I faced yet another great challenge. Staying focused, with dedication and, again, family support was fundamental to succeed and get the desired news: “You passed all Part A and Part B sections which means you are a new Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Medicine”.

Now, as I look back to the days when I started my dental education, especially coming from a middle-class family in Chile and having to make so many sacrifices, to realize what I have so far achieved, gives me the proof and belief that all efforts in the pursuit of one’s goals are valuable and prepare you for your to contributions to your community at the highest level.

Dr. Juan M Bugueno, DDS, MS

Return to 2017 Spring AAOM News